Christmas Was Always Special in My Irish/Polish Family

By Sr. Margaret Hickey, ND

I grew up in an Irish/Polish family and Christmas was always special. After morning mass, we came home for breakfast but before we ate, we shared a communion-like wafer which Grandma kept from year to year. It noted prayer for unity and blessings for the whole family. Gifts were simple and we always received what we needed—simple clothing or coloring books. My sister and I always received the same gifts in different sizes. Later we decided not to share gifts so that we could enjoy the peace of the season and time with family without running around. I was so happy when our Notre Dame Community decided to do the same thing—so rather than give gifts we donated money or items to the needy or to non-profits who served the needy. A most enjoyable year was buying baby products for Bethlehem House in Omaha. Christmas shouldn’t be hectic but peaceful as my family and community demonstrated!